While Doris Salcedo was doing a master’s degree in fine arts at New York University she discovered the work of Joseph Beuys and the concept of ‘social sculpture,’ the possibility of giving form to society through art. The political instability she encountered upon her return to Bogotá led her to engage in projects that evoked the daily repercussions of the violence that was taking place. Untitled is part of an ongoing series begun in 1989 in which Salcedo uses assembled components, including pieces of domestic furniture, as a vehicle to explore the dramatic political history of Colombia. As in other series by the artist, wooden furniture is used here to evoke the human body by its very absence. “All the works I’ve made so far contain first-hand evidence from a real victim of war in Colombia,” the artist has said. The series features tables and wardrobes weathered by years of use, reassembled in hybrid forms, their empty spaces and partial surfaces covered in concrete. Through their material qualities, the new forms function as silent witnesses to implied personal and collective narratives.


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